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Responding To COVID-19 Pandemic, Young People Advocate For Bold Solutions

From climate action to addressing inequalities and building peace, youth leaders scale up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

7 to 8 April 2021
Follow on UN Web TV

Youth leaders, activists and youth-led organizations around the world will gather virtually at the United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum on 7 and 8 April and present bold solutions and initiatives for steering recovery from the pandemic and setting the world back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The Youth Forum, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is hosted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and co-organized by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO) and United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD).

The Youth Forum has become a dynamic space for young people to share their innovative ideas and scale up efforts for youth development and engagement in addressing pressing global challenges. 

This year, the Forum comes amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has had devastating socio-economic impacts worldwide, hindering progress on the achievement of the SDGs. It will focus on youth’s pivotal role in recovering better from the pandemic and accelerating progress in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development.

Young people worldwide are uniquely vulnerable to the long-term socio-economic consequences of the pandemic with major disruptions to education, training and employment. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), approximately 17 per cent of young workers (18-24 years old) stopped working during COVID-19. Many young people also faced food insecurity while social isolation has led to a global mental health crisis.

Despite being disproportionally impacted, young people have demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness. The Forum will showcase the concrete actions and commitments young people have taken around the world to drive urgent climate action, build peace, tackle inequalities and advance gender equality. 
All sessions during the Forum will feature discussions and dialogues with young people, who also co-led the organization of the event and co-designed the programme.

Speakers at the Forum include:

  • H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, President of the Economic and Social Council
  • Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly
  • H.E. Mr. Carlos A. Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
  • Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
  • Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary-General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement
  • Ms. Anika Jenne Dorothy, Executive Director of the Green Congress of Kenya
  • Ms. Melati and Ms. Isabel Wijsen, Founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags and YouthTopia

What: 10th Anniversary UN ECOSOC Youth Forum 2021

When: Wednesday, 7 April to Thursday, 8 April 2021

Where: Follow on UN Web TV

More information, including the programme and list of speakers, is available: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/content/ecosoc-youth-forum-2021

Key moments
Launch of the Youth2030 Progress Report 2021
The Youth2030 Progress Report 2021 — the first-ever progress report of the United Nations system-wide youth strategy, Youth2030 — provides insights on the status of implementation of Youth2030 across the United Nations system, including at country-level. It highlights how the UN is responding to the needs of youth in the COVID crisis and how it is working with Governments and young people to realize the SDGs, among other key findings. The report includes a global snapshot, five regional snapshots and 130 country-level snapshots in addition to a cumulative insights into the progress made across the UN-system. During the Forum, the Youth2030 Toolkit and Youth2030 Online, which features the data from the report will also be previewed.

SDG Media Zone
The UN Department of Global Communications, in collaboration with the BBC World Service and other media organizations, is producing a virtual SDG Media Zone under the theme “The Future We Want.” Acting as a dynamic platform for youth visions and voices, the SDG Media Zone will feature high-impact interviews and conversations with UN leaders as well as youth advocates and activists on some of the most burning issues affecting young people today — climate change and reducing inequalities.

More information on the SDG Media Zone, including the programme and participants, is available here: https://www.un.org/sdgmediazone/ 

Side Events
58 side events will take place on 6 April on the margins of the ECOSOC Youth Forum to enrich the discussions at the Youth Forum. The schedule of side events, including concept notes and links to participate is available at: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/sites/www.un.org.ecosoc/files/files/en/2021doc/side-event-tentative-schedule.pdf

Social Media:
Hashtags: #Youth2030 and #YouthLead (Youth Forum), #SDGLive (SDG Media Zone) and #GlobalGoals (SDGs)

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